It is Saturday and today it is time for the international bookworm meme as hosted by Ayla from Books & Babbles that I am participating in.
We will be talking about the life of an international book blogger and for a while I stared at this prompt because I had no idea how to approach this. Luckily at least Ayla provided us with some inspiring questions and I ended up choosing a bit of a direction.
As you might know I am Dutch. I live in the Netherlands. I made the concious choice to blog in English and as such become an international book blogger. While I quite love this choice as it keeps my English somewhat fresh and I have met some great international friends this way, it also doesn’t make everything quite as simple. Below I have touched upon a few subjects that have to do with this.
As mentioned above I am Dutch. It is the language that I am fluent in though I wouldn’t ever suggest that I don’t make mistakes in it. English is one that I mostly learned myself as by the time I got it in high school I already had a firm grasp on it from BBC. The down point to this is that I think I picked up some wrong spellings and such along the way that is hard to unlearn at a later age.
Making this blog in English keeps me active in using this languge and it is the only language out of the 4 I’ve learned or started learning that I consider myself relatively good at. In case you are wondering, the other three are German, French and Chinese. I have forgotten a lot of those, though I still have my Chinese folders.
I know this blog is certainly not free of any spelling or grammar mistakes. I don’t think I can really expect that of myself. But writing the blog in English doesn’t make blogging any harder for me than blogging in Dutch would be. Since I’ve been doing things online in English for so long it is just normal for me to do things in English.
To Request or to Not Request…
One of the things that I don’t do is request review copies from Dutch publishers. They obviously publish books in Dutch. As I blog in English I feel that I am not reaching their intended target. While I do have a decent portion of Dutch viewers, my stats tell me, I don’t think that warrants enough reason to request review copies. I also don’t think I nessecarily need it. I have a lot of own books I still need to read, I can use the library now and there is always the read now portion of Netgalley, haha.
What are your opinions on this?
Is there jealousy or envy to see US or Dutch bloggers get (physical) review copies? I would be lying if I didn’t ever think that ‘wow, I would like to read that anticipated release in advance’. But I rarely give that a second thought and I am glad other people get those opportunities. And I have gotten some great opportunities through Netgalley as well.
English Books in (Book) Stores and Library
Our book stores obviously focus on books in Dutch, by Dutch authors or translated. But most book stores also have a small section of English books. The one in my city sometimes has new releases, like it had The Extinction Trails in January, but most often not the books that I’d like to buy.
In the nearby city there are two other book stores that I visit from time to time and their section is a little bigger. They are also more likely to have newer (hyped up) releases. But hardcovers of English books are not often found. For 95% it is paperbacks.
In the Netherlands we do have a Waterstones in Amsterdam as I talked about before. There is also The American Book Store in Amsterdam and The Hague. They only sell English books. They are however quite a bit away from me. So a lot of my book purchasing happens online.
As for my library they have a section of about four shelves of English books which is more than I initially suspected. However a lot of these are classics, literary fiction, crime and romance novels. There is really no fantasy there so only a few of the classics (and the Comoran Strike books) were of interest to me there.
Paying the Price
Books are expensive. You might know this if you are a book hoarder, like me. Translated books are even more expensive. A translated young adult paperback can go from 17 to 20 Euro where the English paperback is 9 to 12 Euro. That is a difference. Lets not even talk about adult fantasy translated paperbacks. I’ve seen new Robin Hobb books go for 28 Euro. Yikes. But I get it. I know why they are more expensive. But that makes it hard as a book blogger to support the Dutch publishing system as my wallet cannot sustain the habit, haha. So I shift between Dutch and English.
Libraries are also not free here if you are 18 years and older. You pay between 40 to 60 Euro for a variation of three or four 1 year subscriptions.